Last night’s missive had been marked by perfectly round water stains as if someone had been writing these notes with glass on hand. A preposterous notion, full of disregard for the literary arts, but these are strange times indeed.
This morning I woke before the alarm as Leslie snored and slept on. I grabbed a shower, woke the sleeping nymph and headed down for a coffee.
Pokey puppy finally showed up and we had breakfast and hit the road. We took the train to the Port Authority and hit the express to 125 street then crossed over and headed back to 81st, a couple of friendly New Yorkers offering advice along the way.
This place, like everything in New York it seems, is huge. It has a blue whale, a multi-ton meteorite, giant dinosaurs and more roomies than Versailles.
I was strick by the Widmanstätten pattern on Ahnighto (the aforementioned meteorite). It’s a pattern unique to iron from outer space; it doesn’t form on earth. Ahnighto itself and its companions Dog and Woman were apparently stolen (my word, not the museum’s) from the Inuit by Robert Peary a hundred years ago in the name of science after he discovered that they had iron-tipped tools where there was no iron. The Inuit had been chipping it off the large meteorite; and then they weren’t. ‘Cause it was gone. To New York. ‘Cause Peary wanted to. Even though it took two years. To steal it. Sheesh.
Rocks minerals and gemstones, then more dioramas; Leslie loves dioramas. Even dioramas of North American animals we’ve actually seen. Girls are weird. Moose are weird. Dioramas are weird. But girls aren’t moose dioramas. I think.
Outside for a dog & pretzel and then back at it. The Hayden sphere is this huge suspended ball with a planetarium and theatre inside of it. After a short film about the Big Bang we walked down a spiral ramp learning about how old we are. Old.
Around the second floor balcony a series of exhibits talked about scale using the sphere as an example. For example if the sphere represented the sun then ‘this’ is the earth. Or if the sphere was a red blood cell then ‘this’ was a rhinovirus. Etc. Very well done but my brain still hurts.
A brief detour into African animals and we decide to finish off with dinosaurs. I had mentioned to Leslie that I had wanted to visit the Museum of America Natural History to see the big dinosaurs like the ones in Calvin and Hobbes but I don’t think she had taken me seriously. Well I was. I didn’t want to mill around and learn stuff, I was on a mission. And lo and behold I was so right. I am willing to bet anything that the dinosaurs in the Calvin and Hobbes comics were drawn here; the stegosaurus, brachio-whatsis and the mammoth were like old friends, they were so familiar. I bet I stood in the exact place that Bill Watterson did when he imagined and sketches those awesome strips.
I did read one sign about a possible dino-killing meteor strike on the tip of the Yucatan peninsula. I’ll have to do some reading when I get home because I had never heard that was a possible location.
After that we hit the gift shop for a lark. If we had thought the museum was big, well, the gift shop was bigger. Three floors of junk, clothing, books, food, art and rocks. It was too much so we ran away.
On to the subway, we got off at 42street and walked underground to Times Square. Man, is there a lot of electronic signage there. A lot. After milling around and finding out where the TKTS discount store was we decided against seeing a show. There wasn’t too much we wanted to see so we decided to beat it home for a nap and then see about a late dinner.
Cruising back to the station we investigated Evita with Ricky Martin (closed Mondays), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof featuring Scarlet Johansson (too expensive since I’d seen it recently and also closed Mondays) and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid if Virginia Wolff (alas also dark on… you guessed it, Mondays). But I could be persuaded to see some Albee on Broadway (or at least just off of it).
On the train, down the block and we are back in the teeny tiny room so Leslie can read with her eyes closed for a bit.
Dinner was Spanish. Seafood for Les and Pollo for me. Pretty tasty food and nice company.